Reflections on Cross Crit

This is what I presented:

1.) Intro-

This project is about…

  • Vision- that is seeing differently through the eyes of another in order to present a different perspective
  • Spaces becoming architectural spaces by chance
  • Through a process of decay and deterioration
  • These key ideas have arrived at an interest in…shifting perception through the process of ruination
  • To identify opportunities for dwelling where they are not otherwise seen

2.) 4 Protagonists

  • With this in mind…
  • I have been researching Dungeness through the eyes of four protagonists or influencers who occupy the site
  • Derek Jarman- film director


  • The black redstart- a conosseuir of ruins and obsolete spaces


  • Derek Jarman’s Garden- paradise in a desolate landscape


  • The landscape


Each protagonist offers a unique perspective and set of principles and that I have interpreted myself as design methodologies to inform my design process.

3.) Derek Jarman’s Principles -( show Jarman principles drawing)

Derek Jarman’s Principles of Gardening are the most significant to me because they can be translated into architectural methodologies and they propose how Derek’s influence over the garden promotes an awareness the cycle of life, death and renewal in Dungeness. Derek moved to Dungeness in 1980s to come to terms with the fact that he was dying of AIDs related illnesses- this presents parallels between the decay and deterioration of the site surrounding his cottage.

  • Accidental Gardening
  • Beach combing
  • Formality vs. Informality
  • Pharmacopoeia- Garden flourishes as Derek’s health begins to fail

Also 4 principles for the black redstart, the garden and the landscape for which i won’t go into now, but each principle is helping me as the architect design the ideal state of decay for each protagonist as they occupy the site one after the other.

4.) My Argument/ Proposal

  • Prospect Cottage- Jarman’s Cottage as it is seen today (preserved) – show Prospect Cottage drawing
  • If Derek Jarman came to Dungeness to come to terms with the end of his life, why then should they cottage be preserved in the state that he left it in?
  • The preserved state of the cottage is not true to Jarman’s legacy.
  • Proposal: With the death of Derek Jarman dies the his ownership over the cottage
  • Like Derek, the cottage also begins to deteriorate and decay- revealing opportunities for the occupation of others- leading to not the death of architecture, but the continuation of the lifecycle.

5.)  Continuous Spiral of Change

  • Critical reflection of the attitudes towards change, lifespan and time highlighting a continuous transfer of ownership within architecture through a spiral process. (Show spiral drawing- work in progress)
  • Spiral process shows how the end points are always generative of new opportunities for the new occupier.



6.) Architectural Intent:

  • Nature progresses the cottage to a continuous state of change- how can this process be accelerated, or slowed down and structurally controlled  by me as the architect to suit the needs of each protagonist e.g. redstart ideal state leaves only the corners and the edges- Show Redstart Ideal state


  • The space of each ‘ideal state’ is cast in concrete to preserve the legacy of what was once there (Rachel Whiteread) – show model
  • Between these ideal states, architectural interventions take place to control the rate of decay- e.g Gordon Matta Clark drawing


  • Interventions are not always subtraction, but re-assembly, addition of found objects and materials of the site
  • Structure to support the ruined elements at each stage becomes part of the architecture itself- beautiful, yet robust
  • Finally the structure is unrecognisable as the cottage and decays into the landscape, infiltrating other sites surrounding the cottage and the cycle of decay continues. -Show garden drawing


7.) Conclusion- Pharmacopeia

In conclusion…

What we may see as obsolete and decaying can be transformed into architectural opportunities for  renewal and  growth. 



I thought that the crit went well and explained the project as best I could in the time given. Maybe at the moment I do not have enough drawings to show HOW I am going to do what I am saying I am doing. There is not yet enough architectural ambition. Not yet enough drawings to show the process.

  • Who is the user? Who will visit the site? Defining a specific user for each stage may me design specific spaces.
  • Show the building in use.
  • From the drawings shown it is not yet clear what is existing and what is design.
  • I need to show HOW I get to each stage. What is the process- maybe this is shown diagrammatically from one specific view.
  • What are the architectural interventions?
  • The intent of the drawings are not very clear- more analysis, trace over specific areas of the drawing.
  • HOW are you accelerating or slowing down the decay?
  • Look at Japanese Temples- for the disassembly and reassembly of a structure.
  • Is there a support structure needed to support the ruin? Make sure that this structure does not become the focus of the architecture.
  • Think about how the project becomes to be bigger than just Derek Jarman’s house.
  • How does the project infiltrate into the wider landscape? What is the scale beyond the house?

To do:

  • Process drawing/ diagram showing what design decisions take place at each stage?
  • Design a structure to support the ruin, but does not become the focus of the architecture.
  • Think about how the project becomes wider than just the scale of the house. Does the decay infiltrate other sites?

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